England’s Collingwood to quit Tests after Ashes
Sydney: Paul Collingwood is to quit Test cricket after the fifth Ashes encounter, the England batsman said on Thursday, going out on a high after helping to retain the famous urn in Australia for the first time in 24 years.
The 34-year-old will continue as captain of England’s world champion Twenty20 team and in the one-day team, which will contest the World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh starting next month.
Collingwood has scored 4,259 runs with 10 centuries at an average of 40.56 and taken 17 wickets in 68 matches since his Test debut against Sri Lanka in December 2003 but has struggled with the bat on the current tour.
Averaging just 15.54 over his last 10 Tests and 13.83 in the ongoing Ashes series, the popular right-hander said it was time to give younger players a chance.
“Representing England at Test level has always been a dream of mine and I’ve been fortunate enough to have enjoyed some amazing highs throughout my Test career,” Collingwood said in an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) news release.
“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve always given my all for the England Test team but I feel that this is the right time to leave Test cricket having reached some very special achievements, none more satisfying that retaining the Ashes in Australia.
“Clearly I still feel I have a huge amount to offer England in terms of limited overs cricket and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to continue leading the Twenty20 squad and playing a significant role in England’s ODI team.”
Although his performances with the bat have been sub-par in the series, Collingwood has taken some key catches with his athletic fielding and he bowled out Australian danger man Mike Hussey on Tuesday.
Former England captain Andrew Flintoff had called for him to be dropped for the fifth Test and Collingwood conceded he needed to score some runs to extend his Test career.
What looks like being his final Test innings was another disappointment, however, with a rash charge down the wicket to send a miscued shot ballooning into the hands of Ben Hilfenhaus for just 13 runs.
An honest, dogged determination had previously characterised his batting, not least when he ground out his career best 206 against Australia at Adelaide on the ill-fated 2006-07 Ashes Tour, which England lost 5-0.
His place in the cricketing history books is assured, however, not for his Test career but as the first England captain to win a global one-day tournament at the third Twenty20 World Cup in West Indies last year.
“Paul Collingwood has made an outstanding contribution to the England Test team,” said Hugh Morris, managing director of England Cricket.
“His performances have been admired and recognised by his team mates and England supporters over many years and his tireless commitment in the Test match arena will be something he will always be remembered for.”